The Jury has reached a Verdict - PSVR is a Beautiful Thing
In the weeks leading to the addition of PSVR, many players in the community voiced their concerns about what this might mean for Rec Room. Both positive, and negative, people suggested PSVR players would bring big changes. Well… After several weeks of socializing with these new players, I can confidently say that the integration of PSVR is a beautiful thing.
The main concerns from the core community prior to the merger were:
- An increase in children - Rec Room’s number one problem has always been the abundance of children and the lack of moderation regarding them. As of late, several features have been implemented to mitigate this. The vote kick system has drastically improved and Against Gravity has also implemented a verification system to detect and restrict children from social features. With PSVR being a part of PS4, many assumed there would be a lot more children with access.
So far I have not run into a single annoying child from PSVR. This may be because the junior account system is doing it’s magic
- An increase in immature behavior - Children are not the only immature ones out there. Teenagers and even adults who don’t know how to carry themselves can be even worse. There is a bit of a social learning curve when entering the world of social VR for the first time. It's not like normal gaming - it's just more personal. Players often act much different in video games than they do in real life because they feel there is little to no consequence for the in-game actions. The ability to see other’s mannerisms creates a more personal connection on a psychological level that causes people to treat others like they are actually people instead of random voice on the internet.
The first day PSVR was added, I entered the Rec Center to find seven new PSVR players socializing. I introduced myself and offered to show them around Rec Room. After a few activities, I took them to the park to play with RC Cars. Although I can’t say for sure, I would say that most of these players were teenagers. During this time, I never once felt like these new players were being disrespectful or rude. There was absolutely some major excitement over the RC Cars, but nothing I wouldn’t expect from someone experiencing Rec Room for the first time. I’ve since done that same with several other groups of new PSVR players, yielding the same results.
- A large gap in skill due to hardware limitations - Although Rec Room is known for it’s social community, within there lies a competitive community. The three main activities where competition thrives are paintball, dodgeball, and quest. Vive/Oculus players questioned whether or not PSVR players would be able to keep up due to the restrictions with the PSVR tracking.
I had been considering purchasing a PSVR during the closed beta so I could test this out myself. I had also been looking for a solution that would allow me to play Rec Room while traveling so as soon as the open beta was released, I picked one up. Once everything was set up, I could immediately feel the limitations of having 180 degree tracking as compared to my 360 degree tracking Vive and Oculus. It felt very similar to using an Oculus with only two tracking cameras instead of three. One other thing I noticed was the hand tracking in and out of Rec Room. In the PSVR menu and demo, the hand tracking was very fair and responsive. Once inside of Rec Room, there was a small bit of drag on everything my hands did. I’ve been told that future optimization will address this. Still - it was very playable so I decided to test my skills in paintball. At first, the combination of 180 degree tracking and hand drag made if rather difficult to fire off accurate shots. In the beginning of the game, I could tell I was playing with all PSVR players by low levels and the way everyone was moving. My paintball experience definitely helped me pull ahead - until a level 30 showed up. I assumed this person was on Vive or Oculus by the way they played. Although I was able to pull off a few kill-trades, it was obvious I wouldn’t be able to keep up on a competitive level. Regardless, the game still very enjoyable and felt fair when playing other PSVR players. With a little more patience, I felt like I could aim accurately and on point. I have confidence that Against Gravity will continue working to make Rec Room as enjoyable as possible for for people with PSVR. As a side note, the other E-Sports league managers and myself have been considering doing a PSVR exclusive league to provide fair competition for PSVR players.
In conclusion, the vast majority of Rec Roomers are thrilled by the positive effects PSVR is having on Rec Room.